Obama on Republicans disavowing Trump: Too little, too late

Story highlights

  • Obama slammed Republicans distancing themselves from Donald Trump
  • Obama suggested Trump's candidacy has long been filled with hateful statements

Columbus, Ohio (CNN)President Barack Obama railed Thursday against Republicans who have withdrawn their support for Donald Trump only after his vulgar boasts about grabbing women, saying the last year of insulting statements from the GOP nominee should have prompted them never to support Trump in the first place.

"They don't get credit for at the very last minute when finally, the guy they nominated and supported is caught on tape saying things that no decent person would even think, much less say, much less brag about, much less act on," Obama said during remarks at a Democratic dinner in Columbus, Ohio.
"You can't wait until that finally happens and then say that's too much and then think somehow you're showing any kind of leadership and deserve to be elected to the United States Senate."
    Obama was speaking as the GOP confronts widespread defections after Trump's lewd comments emerged last weekend. Members of Congress, particularly those facing tough re-election battles, were swift to disavow Trump's comments, and many said they wouldn't vote for him at all.
    But the tape of Trump's remarks was only the latest in a series of offensive statements from the Republican nominee, who began his campaign alleging Mexico was sending rapists and drug dealers to the United States, and barely let up on his harsh language as the campaign wore on.
    Obama declared Tuesday that Trump was merely the inheritor of a Republican Party already caught up in conspiracy theories and vitriol.
    "The problem is not that all Republicans think the way this guy does," Obama said "The problem is that they've been riding this tiger for a long time. They've been feeding their base all kinds of crazy for years, primarily for political expedience. So if Trump was running around saying I wasn't born here, they were OK with that as long as it helped them with votes. If some of these folks on talk radio talked about how I was the antichrist, that's just politics."
    "They stood by while this happened," Obama continued. "And Donald Trump -- as he's prone to do -- he didn't build the building himself, he just slapped his name on it and took credit for it. And that's what happened in their party. All that bile, all that exaggeration and stuff not grounded in fact, started bubbling up, surfacing. They knew better but didn't say anything."